Hanwha Q CELLS Korea Corporation recently inked a multi-party memorandum of understanding (MOU) in a landmark project to install solar panels across gas stations in South Korea. The project will see Hanwha Q CELLS Korea provide solar modules to members of the Korea Oil Station Association (KOSA), with Dasstech Co., Ltd. (Dasstech) supplying power inverters in order to achieve efficient energy conversion. Dongwon EnC Corp. (Dongwon EnC) will manage the installation process, while Jeonbuk Bank Ltd (JB Bank) will provide project financing.
Solar driving renewed change in Korea
One of the main benefits of this project is that it helps to conserve land area usually required for solar panels by utilizing the unused space of a gas station’s rooftop. The roofs of Korean gas stations are typically higher than those of adjacent structures, making them ideal for harnessing solar energy, and are also highly accessible in terms of maintenance purposes. Another positive aspect and long-term potential of this project is that the solar energy can also be used in a distributed generation system.
By installing solar panels, gas station owners will receive Renewable Energy Certification and up to 50% more benefits than if they were to use only conventional power sources. If all 13,000 gas stations in Korea were to be fitted with solar panels, they would be capable of generating 300MW of power, which would be enough to meet the electricity demand of about 90,000 local households every year. The installation cost for 300MW PV systems could reach up to approximately 300 billion Korean won.
Numerous companies globally have embarked on similar projects to develop solar-powered gas stations. In 2016, French energy company Total S.A. invested $300 million with the goal of installing a total of 200MW of solar panels across 5,000 service stations worldwide over the next five years. The ENOC (Emirates National Oil Company) Group announced in 2017 that it will install solar panels at all of its new gas stations, beginning with stations in Dubai.